I’m sure you’ve all watched Ted Lasso by now? I’m a late adopter, a term which will make sense to any marketing folk, as it’s a phrase used to describe consumers who take their sweet time catching on to buying a certain thing, or using a piece of tech, or changing from their existing way of doing things.
I like to see if that thing really is as great as people say it is. Then I wait a bit longer. I don’t tend to believe people in general, so I then have to wait for even more people to say they like that thing, and only then, once I have not stopped hearing how great that thing is, then only will I dip my tiny toe in, to see what it’s all about. I just don’t like liking things that everyone else likes, for the sake of it. I suppose I’m contrary. A grumpy 40-something-year-old.
Anyway, that’s what happened with Ted. But eventually enough people raved about the show so I started watching it and of course then I was hooked, just like everyone else, because I am, in fact, very much like everyone else. Just a bit slower.
I loved Ted. What a show. But this is not a blog post about how great Ted is (even though he is), this is a blog post about one specific thing that Ted does in the show. It’s not his leadership style, or his funny dress sense, or his hilarious dislike of tea that struck me most, it’s the scene where he bakes biscuits for Rebecca that I keep thinking back on. He bakes shortbread for his boss. Such a simple act. But a very powerful one.
Because you see, you don’t bake things for people you don’t a) admire, b) respect or c) care about. There are feelings involved with baking. And while Ted probably has other motivations behind the biscuits, perhaps wanting to crack through Rebecca’s tough exterior, I believe that baking typically is an act performed from a place of love.
And this is what inspired me to start baking again. My oven in our rented apartment is tiny and terrible but over the past few months I’ve managed to make batches of decent biscuits in it. Peanut and dark chocolate cookies. Simple butter biscuits that melt in your mouth. Oat & vanilla cookies. Banana bread. Ginger cake with salted chocolate icing.
The weird thing is that I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth myself, so it isn’t so much in the eating, there is also a huge amount of satisfaction that comes from producing something from nothing. Starting with a whole bunch of flour and ending up with a thing that sparks joy in your kids’ eyes. You feel like a magician. Wearing an apron.
I’ve been gifting bags of homemade biscuits to my friends. Tucking them into the kids’ lunchboxes, secret love letters from a mother to her child. Sitting down with the children when they get home from school with a cup of a tea and (another) biscuit each, as we chat about our days and the rain falls on the roof and the wind rattles the windows.
There’s not just joy in the end result, there is purpose in the process, in the mindful acts of measuring out ingredients, weighing the butter just right, covering your fingers in flour, licking the spoon clean, smelling the scent of cinnamon in the air, feeling the warmth of a slice of cake as it slides off the cool spoon and into your mouth.
Baking has been a form of therapy to me lately. And it feels like it’s one of those activities that started gaining popularity over Covid lockdowns, but which has stuck around and which we’ve all discovered a new appreciation for. Maybe we used to find baking quaint or old-fashioned, but now we realise the value in these sorts of activities, a wisdom our mothers and grandmothers knew, but which we forgot in the hustle of our busy lives. We were so busy chasing things that we didn’t always realise that what mattered most was what we were doing right now. That precise moment in time.
Mindfulness, gratitude, acts of service, signs of love. I’m baking all my feelings into that cake, and that’s okay. Because it tastes pretty good.
Thanks for showing me that Ted (and you can pitch up at my door with some of your shortbread any day).